For people who wish there were more hours in the day, spending a bit of money to get rid of onerous tasks would make them much happier.
A study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has found buying time makes people happier than buying material things.
UBC psychology professor and senior author of the study Elizabeth Dunn said although the idea of being happier by having someone clean your home or do other unwanted chores seems obvious, the study found even small investments like shopping at a more expensive, but closer-to-home, grocery store makes a difference.
Researchers gave 60 people taking part in the study in Vancouver $40 to spend on two weekends. The first time they were told to use the money on any material item they wanted.
Dunn said people reported buying a nice bottle of wine, clothes, and board games. Researchers then surveyed the group to determine their level of happiness following the purchase of the item.
On the second weekend, participants were tasked to use the money to save them time — such as taking a taxi instead of public transit, have someone mow their lawn, and in one case having a "neighbour boy" run errands.
Dunn said they compared the groups level of happiness following both instances of spending, and found people were much happier when they bought themselves more time.
That attitude wasn't limited to the Vancouver participants. A survey of 6,000 people in Canada, the U.S. and Europe showed those who have a bit of discretionary income would benefit from spending it on getting rid of the chores they dread.